The nationwide K-12 tipping point
The doors of public schools are swiftly slamming shut for many Americans ahead of this next school year.
Driving the news: Los Angeles and San Diego are starting out online-only this fall, forcing 825,000 students to learn with a laptop.
- California is also re-entering lockdown: Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants, wineries, movie theaters and other family entertainment to stop serving customers indoors, and he ordered bars to close in their entirety.
Why it matters: This could start a domino effect among officials who haven't made a final decision, especially with the coronavirus surging across much of the U.S.
- It also sets up a conflict with the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who are pushing schools to have students in classrooms.
The big picture: Los Angeles is the first big district to make this move, with plenty more at a crucial point in the decision-making process.
- New York City will be allowed to open schools if positive test rates remain below 5%.
- Chicago let high school athletes return to practice last week, but hasn't decided whether to have classes in person.
- Miami-Dade is asking parents to vote on their preference of online, hybrid or in-person, but this only applies if the state goes to the next phase of re-opening.
- Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools released its draft plan this weekend to start September with online-only classes. In-person classes would then be phased in, and blocked off by different periods and grades, Axios' Orion Rummler reports.
- Las Vegas will have a hybrid system with the potential for alterations.
- Atlanta's school board is voting today on whether to start the first nine weeks online.
- In Seattle, students are "likely to go to school in person only once or twice a week" in the plan under consideration as of July 8, per the N.Y. Times.
Between the lines: Teachers unions are flexing some muscle here, the LA Times notes.
- Los Angeles teachers union leadership pushed for online-only, and "83% of teachers agreed in a one-day snap poll."
By the numbers: Cost will be a big factor in these decisions.
- San Diego faced a $90 million price tag to add the necessary support staff and disinfecting procedures to keep schools open. (N.Y. Times)
- The bill could average out to nearly $1.8 million per school district, the School Superintendents Association estimates. (ABC News)
The bottom line: American schools are profoundly unequal, and a child's ZIP code determines a large part of their destiny.
- Now one of the few equalizing elements — kids learning in the same physical classrooms as their peers — is out of the picture for the foreseeable future.
Go deeper: Teachers’ union president on reopening schools (podcast)